Friday, November 20, 2009

The Weight of a Thousand Small Tasks

I named this blog Bex, Perplexed because that's kind of how I feel most of the time. Not confused, but perplexed. So this is life, eh? Hmmmmm.

But I think a name that might be more apt these days is Easily Overwhelmed. Because that is what I realized I am. I feel completely paralyzed lately by a mounting to-do list, and a nameless discomfort that I carry around everywhere. If you know me, than you know I am more than a little obsessed with order and maintaining it, but that I also happen to be very bad at maintaining it. Imagine if you will a person with OCD who is also horrible at cleaning and you have me, ever trapped in a cycle of can't-function-because-of-the-chaos and can't-organize-the-chaos-in-order-to-function. So I do nothing.

The things that are currently overwhelming me, in no particular order:
  1. My house. Okay, so maybe this is in order because this, friends, is number one. The state of my house directly mirrors my emotional state and apparently my emotional state is cluttered, filthy, and unfinished. Because that is how I feel about my house. I hate the colors I painted it, I hate that I never finished getting it the way I wanted it, I hate the piles of junk mail and electronic gadgets and baby paraphernalia, and most of all I hate that I can't make myself do anything about it. It's like I've given up, and am letting it return to the earth. It even smells.
  2. My weight. This will eventually get a post all to itself, but for now let me just say that I have not lost a pound since the twenty I lost two weeks after giving birth. Not. A. Pound. And along with my former body, all impulse control has disappeared and I can't seem to control what I put into my mouth. What is that about?
  3. Writing. This is kind of a secondary infection, as it's actually all the other crap in my head that keeps me from writing. I sit at my computer and think about how I want to change my dining room, what art I want on the walls, where to find curtains I can afford, and I can't clear my mind enough to slip into that vivid and continuous dream that must be creating a story. Which, of course, overwhelms me more.
  4. Blogging. Again, something for another post, but in a lot of ways blogging is like high school in that, while opening up entire new avenues for friendship, learning, and self-expression, it can also open up new feelings of rejection, misunderstanding, and self-doubt. When I am healthy, grown-up me, this isn't a problem. When I am overwhelmed, paralyzed me, sometimes blogging feels like a big birthday party I didn't get invited to. Silly? Yes. True? Unfortunately. 
  5. Random tasks I have yet to accomplish. Getting Jack's British passport. Refinancing my house. Communicating with the IRS. Grocery shopping. All equally important in their way, all waiting to be accomplished. OVERWHELMED!
I feel a little bit better just writing that, as all obsessive people feel after making a list. God, I love lists. Tiny little bits of order to throw into the chaos, making it slightly less powerful for at least a half an hour, without requiring me to actually do anything. So lemme just shove it out there into cyberspace, see where she goes.

Behold my list!  Take that, Chaos!


krista said...

we do have a lot in common, don't we? :-)
ah, the weight one especially.
i gained 65 pounds when i was pregnant. i lost 20 in the hospital. i kept the other 45 (for sentimental reason, apparently.)
yes, i hear ya on this one.

gorillabuns said...

Sounds like you have described me to a T! My house is in so much a disarray, my husband and I fought all night last night about how it looks.

He's lucky he's alive today.

mrs.notouching said...

I got overwhelmed just reading this! Deep breaths, Bex.... deeeeeep breaths... My house is always creatively messy (I believe people can relate to more that way :-) I still need to lose 10lbs of baby weight, but why bother - we want at least 2 children, so I'll worry about it then. When it comes to blogging and writing... just do it. I am never happy with it but I can't seem to stop either. So... I will worry about it on Monday.
And YES... thank you for reminding me - Leila needs a passport...

Luise said...

Hi babe, this is my Becky!

But honey, please keep reminding you that most people have to deal with this stuff! I am not saying that because it is supposed to make it sound more normal or banal - but in the end, it really is HOW we cope with it.

I try to focus my thoughts on something else - something which is of higher importance or simply more enjoyable - as soon as I notice that my thoughts spin around once again about some stupid pillow or the perfect color in your house... So repaint it if it is a crappy color! But don't assume that the perfect color will make you utterly satisfied. Or maybe you should paint everything clinically white - very refreshing, ahhh

And did it ever cross your mind that the industry makes us believe that we always need something new, something else to make live perfect... it is an amazing achievement with the help of the advertisement industry to make us want want want - and I heard they did a particularly good job in the US! Mmmh, aren't the Americans also the population with the most OCD??? I wonder!

Well, I keep bababling. I would rather skype with you but it is too early over there...

big kiss
and eat lots of fruits!!!

Trista said...

It's so easy to get overwhelmed by the multitude of tasks, big and small. I am so with you on this one. I'm a compulsive list maker, because they make me feel better and in control. Even if it's a facade, I feel better.

I have no advice on the baby weight - I still have almost all of mine, and it shows no sign of going anywhere. Sometimes I feel very motivated to get rid of it, and other days I'd rather have that piece of cake. Meh. Actually, I'd usually rather have that piece of cake.

We moved into our house shortly before having our baby, and we're still doing basic things like hanging pictures. I feel like my daughter's nursery was kind of thrown together in the rush to get her room ready before she came home from the hospital, and I've never been that happy with it. It's frustrating because if I had limitless time and funds my house would be STUNNING, but neither of those things exist, so there are things I'm unhappy about but live with. Like the ugly, marked-up yellow walls of our basement. We're tackling it one repulsive light fixture at a time, but I expect that we'll move before I'm satisfied.

I can provide an actual piece of advice for one item - if you can afford it, hire someone to do the heavy house cleaning, or just have someone do a one-time deep clean. We rationalized having cleaners by thinking that all the money we used to spend on going out, having a life etc. is now paying to keep our house clean. We still do the day-to-day stuff, but every couple of weeks someone comes by and does the heavy cleaning. It's a luxury, but we sacrificed other areas to afford it and for us it's totally worth it. A cluttered, messy house makes me nuts and interferes with my ability to work and write at home, since I end up cleaning up instead of working or writing. And if I try to ignore the mess and focus on my computer screen, it creeps in and I can't concentrate (I've been told that this is actually a way to procrastinate, but whatever). I like that I have to neaten up before the cleaners come so they can do their job, and when they leave my house is spotless. For about two minutes.

On blogging - I feel the same way. But it's afforded me enough awesome new connections that it's still worth it. And I got this amazing cider/soco tip that I tried out last night, and boy was she right.

Bex said...

Thanks for all the encouragement! Let me just say that Jack slept through the night last night, and a full night's sleep goes a loooong way to making me feel better!

Krista and Daiva-I've got 40 to go. If either of you wanna try and lose it with me (Trista too!) I'm totally game. I understand that failure is still likely, but hey, it's worth a try, right?

Shana-Husbands are always a nice scapegoat, or at least punching bag, when the house is messy :)

Trista-Hiring the cleaners is great advice. We did it when Jack was first born and I felt so much better. It's just the idea of tracking them down at the moment just feels like another thing on my list! And unfortunately I feel like we'll move before we finish as well, which really sucks! But thanks for the tip.

mrs.notouching said...

I'm game, but we have to do it slowly, because HELLO?! THANKSGIVING! I'm gonna shoot for 3lbs by Christmas...that's like a pound per week sort of... but at least this doesn't scare me. Yeah I know...this will be the slowest weight loss competition ever, but I know myself too well to set the bar any higher. But hey, if I keep up I will lose those 10lbs by Leila's first birthday in March!